As staff at the FBI and Department of Justice face threats of violence in the wake of last week’s Mar-a-Lago search, one of Donald Trump’s lawyers has suggested releasing CCTV footage of the raid – and dismissed concerns about the consequences of revealing the identities of agents who carried it out.
Appearing on pro-Trump network Newsmax, Alina Habba said she “would love” to see the footage of the raid released specifically because it should be made clear which individual agents carried the FBI operation out.
“We don’t want you to see their identities,” she said, mocking the rationale for keeping the tapes sealed, “because we don’t want you to know who did that. Well, if you’re doing it as an agent, I’m not sure you should have that right.
“Listen: FBI agents, undercover agents, that’s one thing. But when you go into a president’s home, an ex-president’s home, what do you expect is going to happen? What do you expect?”
The abuse directed at FBI agents since the raid has been intense and dangerous. In one example, a man was charged earlier this week with threatening to kill as many agents as possible over the raid, which he called an act of “war”.
In a joint statement, the bureau and the Department of Homeland Security announced that they have “observed an increase in violent threats posted on social media against federal officials and facilities” directly connected to the raid. These threats took on a new significance when far-right website Breitbart published an unredacted version of the search warrant that contained the names of two FBI agents involved in the search.
In her interview, Ms Habba also claimed that the former president’s team will be sending video to the Department of Justice sometime soon.
“I do know that they are planning to put it together if it’s not already together and send it out to the DoJ,” she said. “We cooperate! That’s what we always do, we always have. I would love for the country to see what I saw from those cameras.”
Footage from cameras at Mar-a-Lago has indeed been subpoenaed by the Department of Justice, but the department is not known to be looking for a recording of the search which FBI agents carried out. Instead, it has reportedly requested recordings covering a 60-day period after Mr Trump and his team were in touch with investigators about documents stored at the residence but before the FBI arrived with a warrant to search it.
While Ms Habba’s claim that the Trump team “always” cooperates with law enforcement, the impetus for the search appears to have been that investigators had probable cause to believe that sensitive government documents were still being stored at Mar-a-Lago, as reflected in the inventory of materials seized. The search came even after a written declaration from a Trump lawyer earlier this summer attested that all classified material had been handed over.